For teachers and principals who want to gain insight into their futures with regard to standardised testing the report mentioned below is worth a read.
Summary points from research.
Principals and BOT that ignore the following are putting their students at risk.
• There is considerable evidence in the international literature
of the impact that high stakes testing can have on the quality
of the learning experience of children. Evidence has emerged
that such testing can structure the educational experiences
of students in ways that limit the development of the range of
skills and literacies needed in the modern world, encouraging
low-level thinking and promoting outcome measures rather
than the intrinsic processes of learning and acquiring
• Research on high stakes testing has also found that
these tests may be having a negative impact on teacher
pedagogies with a resultant degradation of students’
experience of learning. The impact of this may be defined as
a shift from a focus on the needs of the child to the needs of
the evaluation and reporting process.
• Research also documents the impact of testing on the
curriculum, showing that teachers will focus on the areas in
which students will be tested, while reducing the proportion
of class time devoted to curriculum areas not included in
state tests. This influences curricular structures in terms of
content, since the content of standardised tests defines what
may be regarded as legitimate knowledge, and in the way
in which content knowledge is presented in the classroom,
with this increasingly aligning to the way it is presented
and assessed in the tests, that is, as isolated and largely
unconnected facts and pieces of information.
• Some evidence has also emerged in the Australian context
of a narrowing of the curriculum as a result of high stakes
What emerges consistently across this range of studies are
serious concerns regarding the impact of high stakes testing on
student health and well-being, learning, teaching and curriculum.
Although much of the literature is focussed on the USA and the
UK, the consistency of these findings raises legitimate questions
and deep concern regarding the Australian experience.
The introduction of national standardised testing in Australia is a
significant educational reform. It is important that such a reform
be underpinned by rigorous research to ensure that it advances
the interests of students. For this reason, it is important to
investigate the extent to which we can extrapolate these findings
of the largely negative impact of testing in the international
context to the NAPLAN program recently implemented in